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Animal Behavior Intern

Animal Behavior Intern

The Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History in Sioux Falls, SD is offering an opportunity for education and experience for tomorrow’s workforce. The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum has a behavior based internship opportunity available to those interested in pursuing a career in Animal Behavior Study.

General Statement of Duties:

The Animal Behavior Intern is responsible for developing an animal behavior study. The study should increase normal species-typical activities while attempting to reduce stereotypic behaviors of assigned animals, researching and building enrichment, and participating in Operant Conditioning sessions.


•    Create an animal behavior study for assigned animals by constructing an ethogram to chart behavior, initiating an enrichment program, and documenting behavior change.

•    Present the findings of the study to the keeper staff. 

•    Research and build new enrichment items for the various taxon.

•    Participate in Operant Conditioning sessions with the keeper staff.  Complete a Training Goal Worksheet and begin operant conditioning with an assigned animal.

•    Assist in the observation of the animal collection for signs of illness, general lethargy, injury, and dietary problems.

•    Must have the ability to follow oral and written instructions.

•    Responsible for other duties as assigned by the Area Supervisors and/or the Director of Animal Programs.

•    Must have strong communication skills as speaking with the general public is required.

•    Animal Care Interns are asked for a 400-hour commitment for the summer.

Health and Safety:

Must maintain current tetanus vaccination (5 years) and be willing to have annual TB test screening done. 


Requires a high school diploma or GED certificate;  Prefer candidates that are pursuing a degree in a zoological related field and have had one previous zoo internship;  Must be able to work weekends, holidays, and evenings as assigned;  Must commit to a schedule; Must maintain a valid drivers license. Experience with Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint program beneficial.

Proof of U.S. Citizenship or immigration status will be required upon employment. Criminal convictions are not an absolute bar to employment, but will only be considered in relation to specific job requirements.

  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor F.
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A.
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N.
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world. ¬†The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones. ¬†Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T.